Like many other small business owners struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic, Donna MacPherson tries to control spending wherever she can.
But she is having problems controlling one expense, and it’s raising genuine concerns.
Around three days a week, MacPherson finds bags of trash next to the commercial garbage container for her business in Redfern Village, Golden Isles Olive Oil.
She picks up the trash and has no choice but to put it in her container and pay the cost to have it removed.
MacPherson said she bought a lock for the container because so much trash unrelated to her business was being dumped that her monthly bill soared from $200 to $715.
The lock did its job, but only to a certain degree. Instead of finding her trash container overflown, people started leaving bags of garbage next to the container.
“I don’t know how to control it,” she said. “I call these people trash trolls. It’s a big problem.”
MacPherson said the old furniture, landscaping debris and bags of garbage routinely dumped near her business raises several concerns that go beyond her trash bill more than tripling.
She even caught a man just as he finished unloading bags of garbage near her business. When MacPherson confronted him, he got in his vehicle and drove away without saying anything, leaving the trash behind for her to deal with.
She is worried about getting cited from the health department for the trash around her business, which she picks up when she shows up to work each morning.
Unsightly trash and debris outside a restaurant trash container is not a lure for customers.
According to county ordinances, the penalty for illegal dumping shall not be less than $300 for a first offense, $600 for a second offense and $1,000 for a third or subsequent offense. It can also include up to 60 days in jail.
“There are so many businesses dealing with the same problem,” she said. ‘I’m not the only one.”